NCAA violation to cost Lopes job

Updated: March 17, 2005, 9:49 PM ET
Associated Press

FRESNO, Calif. -- Fresno State basketball coach Ray Lopes resigned Thursday after a school investigation determined that he violated an NCAA rule about telephone calls to recruits.

Lopes was hired in 2002 to replace Jerry Tarkanian, whose seven-year run as coach put the Bulldogs on four years' probation by the NCAA for violations including academic fraud.

"When I came here I made a commitment to running a program with no violations," Lopes said in a statement released by the school.

"I recognize that there have been violations of the telephone contact rule in the recruitment of some prospective student-athletes. I regret that occurred.

"I am resigning at this time … to minimize any potential jeopardy for the university."

Interim athletic director Paul Oliaro said Lopes had been cooperative but said he couldn't comment on the details on the infraction because an investigation is ongoing. The school said it was still working with the NCAA and the Western Athletic Conference to determine the full extent of possible violations.

Lopes went 50-37 in his three years with the Bulldogs, winning the WAC title his first year. Fresno State went 16-14 this season and did not qualify for the postseason.

"I respect him for his forthrightness in this matter and for accepting responsibility for the problem," Oliaro said.

Fresno State fired women's basketball coach Stacy Johnson-Klein earlier this month. The school said a three-week investigation determined that Johnson-Klein inappropriately obtained pain medication from students and staff and violated NCAA rules.

Johnson-Klein's attorney has said the allegations are false or blown out of proportion.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press